A crisp bright November morning saw a good turnout of WGEL young athletes to the Essex Champs at the agricultural college in Writtle. Whilst warming up the chat was all about the bright morning and seemingly dry underfoot conditions hiding some quite slippery and difficult parts of the challenging course.
With club CC championship medals on offer, as well as Essex vests and team championships, everything was set for an exciting morning.
First off the U13 boys with our reduced team consisted of Maxwell Chinn, Richard Reid and Brandon Baldacci. The U13 race of 3km consisted of two laps and we were pleased to see Maxwell coming into the second lap in 8th place, holding off a strong challenge, all the way in to the funnel to hold his place. Next Richard Reid, in his second outing in the green and white hoops, an impressive 13th and, to bring the team home, Brandon Baldacci running hard for 27th out f 50.
Our U13 Girls were off next, represented by Zahara Malcolm. Known for her super speed over 800m, she found 3km hard going but showed determination and found enough of a sprint to take 2 places in the last 100m to take 25th. Mention must be made of Hollie McArdell, who travelled up intending to race but pulled out feeling poorly beforehand, but stayed to cheer her teammates on.
Our U15 Boys team, pictured, were full of high spirits and, as always, confident in their numbers and ability. Their 4km course consisted of one small lap and two large laps of the lake, taking them up and down hills and precariously along the bank. Joe Geller and Kai Boggon (picture right) shot off very quickly with the rest of the team in hot pursuit. Joe, another runner who favours 800m, found the distance tough and after leading for the first 2.5k was overtaken by his team mate and then stayed in a 5-way battle until the last 500m.
Kai was the first Woodie home, very pleased with 2nd, just 4 seconds off the winner at 13:38, with Joe Geller at 5th just another ten seconds behind, his legs rapidly tiring. He was, however, delighted to be given an Essex invitation in the funnel! Sidnie Ward, who started more slowly and was in the 20s at the start of the second lap, responded to the rallying cries of the parents and dug deep, bringing himself in at 11th. Our next scoring runner in was Todd Maleary in 22nd. Our 5th and 6th boys in were Kieran Allgood, 23rd in his first Essex Champs and still suffering from being spiked at the start, and Rhys Edwards in 24th, who both produced fantastic sprints to take two places in the last 50m. Our last runner in, in 35th, was Hayden Maleary. A great team effort with our first four winning the silver team medals for Woodford Green (top picture).
Out final young athlete race was the U15 Girls race with a good size field. Our girls ran very well. First home was Wren Jackson in 14th, followed by Siena Taylor in 21st place and Georgina Handford bringing the team home with a very respectable 25th place.
A couple of our U15 scoring boys hung around to see how they had fared, and collected their medals, and it was great to see Kieran, who had missed out on a scoring medal by one place, stay to support and cheer his team with Wren and several parents too.
Well done to everyone to took part! Pictured below, Joe and Kai pull the field up the hill.